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FBI warrant shows messages between Roger Stone, Julian Assange in 2016

FBI warrant shows messages between Roger Stone, Julian Assange in 2016
Roger Stone arrives at a courthouse in Washington, D.C., on February 20 to be sentenced for lying to Congress, witness tampering and interfering in a congressional Russia investigation. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 29 (UPI) -- Roger Stone, a former political strategist for President Donald Trump, repeatedly contacted WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign -- and they primarily discussed leaked emails from Hillary Clinton's team and the Justice Department's Russia investigation, new FBI documents show.

The documents, a partly redacted application for a search warrant in 2017, were released by the bureau late Tuesday.

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The warrant shows that the two, in social media messages, discussed the origin of the leaked email from Clinton's Democratic campaign. U.S. authorities believe they were hacked by Russian operators and given to WikiLeaks, but Stone has long been implicated in the leak, which damaged Clinton's campaign just months before the 2016 election.

The documents also show Stone sought to assuage Assange concerning any charges the Australian might face in the United States, saying he would "bring down the entire house of cards" if the U.S. government moved against him.

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Assange sought asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for seven years following charges of sexual assault in Sweden, which were ultimately dropped -- but reinstated following his arrest at the embassy a year ago.

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"With the trumped-up sexual assault charges dropped I don't know of any crime you need to be pardoned for," Stone told Assange.

Assange also faces U.S. charges related to leaks from whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, for which U.S. prosecutors are seeking to have him extradited from London.

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"Between CIA and [the Justice Department], they're doing quite a lot," Assange said in a reply to Stone. "On the DOJ side that's coming most strongly from those obsessed with taking down Trump trying to squeeze us into a deal."

Stone promised he would address the issues "at the highest level of government."

The documents are dated in November 2017, nine months after Trump took office.

Stone said after their release Tuesday the transcripts effectively clear him of wrongdoing.

"I have no trepidation about their release as they confirm there was no illegal activity and certainly no Russian collusion by me during the 2016 election," Stone said in a statement. "There is, to this day, no evidence that I had or knew about the source or content of the WikiLeaks disclosures prior to their public release."

Stone is waiting to start a 40-month prison sentence stemming from a conviction last fall on charges he lied to Congress, tampered with witnesses and interfered in the House Russia investigation.

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U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson denied Stone a new trial this month after defense attorneys suggested the jury foreman was biased.

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